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Constant stirred tank reactors (CSTR) are widely used reactors in the industry. They
are used to carry out reactions that require intense agitation, such as the addition of
gaseous reactants in a liquid, a solid reactant in a liquid, or polymerization
reactions. (Rawlings 5) Heat exchange in CSTR reactors is a very important and well
studied division. A highly exothermic reaction or a highly endothermic reaction both
require that heat be taken out or put into the reactor respectively.
Heat is the transfer of energy from one substance to another. There are three types
of heat transfers; conduction, convection, and radiation. Heat conduction is the
energy transfer at the molecular level. As molecules collide and bounce off of each
other they exchange energy, the high energy particles loose energy to the low
energy ones. Heat convection is the energy transfer as the bulk fluid moves and
radiation is the transfer of energy without a medium, it does not required molecules
or a bulk fluid to be transferred. In this lab we will be mainly studying conduction
and convection. (Bird 266)
The rate of heat conducted depends on the thermal conductivity (k) of a substance.
This constant is a measure of a substances resistance to heat conduction. The
higher the k value the easier it is to transfer heat through this substance.
Temperature is the measure of energy a substance holds and heat always transfers
from a high temperature region to a low temperature region. Heat is transferred
according to the following law, known as Fouriers law. (Bird 266-332)

Q/ A=k



Q is the Heat transferred

A is the area this heat transfers through
K is the thermal conductivity
T is temperature
x is the distance this heat is transferred through
This law states that the heat flow per unit area is proportional to the
temperature decrease dT over a distance dx. The heat transfer, at a
boundary, that takes place between a fluid and a solid goes through a thin
film. This heat transfer is not defined directly by the Fouriers law but is
defined by the Newtons Law of cooling which is defined as follows: (Bird
Q=hA ( T 0 T b ) A


Q13 is the heat transferred

h is the heat transfer coefficient
T0 is the temperature of the surface
Tb is the temperature of the bulk fluid
A is the area of heat transfer

In this lab we will be studying the heat transfer through three different
1) Heat transfer across the internal fluid to the wall of the stirred tank
2) Heat transfer across the tank wall
3) Heat transfer from the condensing steam to the tank wall
Since these three regions include the heat transfer through several different
mediums a collective heat transfer coefficients (U) can be derived. U is
defined as the following for this lab:



1 1
hi h o


is the heat transfers coefficient from the fluid in the CSTR to the tank

wall. (W/ m K

is the heat transfer coefficient from the tank wall to the surrounding

steam. (W/ m K

With the overall heat transfer coefficient, Newtons law of cooling becomes:
Q13=U ( T 1 T 3 ) A


U is the overall heat transfer coefficient (accounting for heat resistance of all
three boundaries listed above and described by equation 2) (W/ m K


is the temperature of the steam surrounding the CSTR (K)


is the temperature of the fluid in the CSTR (K)

A is the heat transfer area ( m )

Some assumptions that are needed to simplify the heat transfer are that the
wall thickness is thin compared to the tank so area is same for both values
and that the tank wall has a very high k value so it has no resistance to heat
The following picture can help to understand the derivation of the overall
heat transfer coefficient:

Figure 1: Temperature profile

As the heat transfer from the right to the left it first goes through a thin film
with heat transfer coefficient h0 then it flows through the solid with heat
transfer coefficients kscale and kwall finally comes out on the left side where the
heat transfer coefficient is hi. The heat transfer through in the solid-fluid
interface is described the equations:
Q = hiAi(t4 t5) = h0A0(t1 t2)


h0 is the heat transfer coefficient across the solid-fluid boundary where

temperature difference is t1 t2
hi is the heat transfer coefficient across the solid-fluid boundary where
temperature difference is t4 t5
The heat transfer across the solids follows the Fourier law and is defined as
Q = Ascalekscale(t2-t3)/xscale = Ascalekscale(t3-t4)/xwall


Since the heat transfer is the same across all the walls at steady state, the x,
h, and A values can be combined to give an overall heat transfer coefficient:
1 1 x scale Ai x wall Ai 1 A i
= +

U i hi k scale A scale k wall A wall h o A 0


The amount of heat lost or gained by a substance depends on its heat

capacity C.

Q=mC(T-T0) (6)
This equation determines how much heat is gained or lost by a substance as
the temperature drops or is raised. (Packet)
Heat transfer coefficients can be theoretically estimated using the following
Outer Wall Heat Transfer Coefficient Estimation
This estimates the h value on the outside of the vessel wall where steam
condensation takes place.
3 2
ho LT
L g

1 /3



is the heat transfer coefficient through film of condensing steam. (W/



is the vertical length of the tank. (m)

k is the thermal conductivity of the fluid. (W/K-m)

is the density of the fluid. (kg/ m

g is the gravitational constant. (m/ s )

is the viscosity of the fluid. (kg/s-m)

M is the mass rate of steam condensed per wetted perimeter described by:





is the mass rate of steam condensation. (kg/s)

Saturated Steam Heat Transfer Coefficient

ho =2960 ( D / mst )1 /3


Estimation Inner Wall Heat Transfer Coefficient Estimation

This system falls into the category of an unbaffled CSTR with Newtonian
fluid. The heat transfer correlation can be estimated using the following

1 /3

( )(

hi DT
=0.36 p
hi D T

1/ 3

D2i n

2/ 3

2 /3

( )

Di n

( )( )




is the heat transfer coefficient of the inner CSTR tank wall. (W/ m K

is the diameter of the tank (m)

is the viscosity of the fluid. (kg/s-m)


is the specific heat of the reactor fluid (J/kg-K)

k is the thermal conductivity of the fluid. (W/K-m)

is the density of the reactor fluid. (kg/ m )


is the diameter of the impeller. (m)

n is the rate of revolution of the impeller. (RMP)

Correlation (3) can also be expressed in terms of dimensionless numbers:

Nu t=0.36 ( imp )2/ 3 ( Pr )1/ 3


Nu t

is the tank Nusselt number described by:

Nu t=


h DT

is the impeller Reynolds number described by:

D 2I n
imp =



is the fluid Prandtl number described by:





In this lab the convective heat transfer coefficient at the inner surface of the tank
will be experimentally determined. This value will then be compared with
theoretically calculated values using the equations listed above.

1. Bird, R. B., Warren E. Stewart, and Edwin N. Lightfoot. Transport Phenomena. 2nd ed. New
York, NY: Jonh Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2002

Packet, Heat transfer to a Fluid in a Stirred Tank